Apr 28, 2015 — The short shelf life of leafy greens, such as lettuce, celery, spinach and parsley, strongly influences their marketability and profitability. In some cases, post-harvest losses from field to market in leafy vegetables can reach 50%, due to natural development of senescence in the detached leaves and other factors.
Now Yissum, the technology transfer company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, introduces a novel solution for prolonging the shelf life of leafy greens by delaying senescence. The method, invented by Dr. Rivka Elbaum, from the Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture at Hebrew University, utilizes an approved food additive that according to academic publications may have beneficial effects on human health. The technology will be presented at Agritech Israel 2015, the 19th International Agricultural Exhibition and Conference, to be held in Tel Aviv, Israel on April 28-30, 2015.
The novel solution is introduced into the plant tissue by dipping the cut leaves into the solution, and thus delaying senescence. In proof of concept experiments, the invention was shown to delay senescence and chlorophyll loss in Lettuce leaves as well as in Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard.
Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum, commented, “The novel method invented by Dr. Elbaum, is a simple, low-cost solution for delaying senescence in leafy greens, thereby increasing their shelf life. The method, which has been tested on lettuce could considerably increase the profitability of leafy greens, which comprise a large fraction of the fresh vegetable market.”